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Throughout Alaska, sprint races, freight hauling, and long-distance endurance runs are held in late February and March, during the season when longer days afford enjoyment of the remaining winter snow. Men and women often compete in the same classes in the major races. For children, various racing classes are based on age, starting with the one-dog category for the youngest. The Interior sees a constant string of sled-dog races from November to March, which culminates in the North American Open Sled-Dog Championship, attracting international competition to Fairbanks.
Alaska Dog Mushers Association. In Fairbanks many of the sprint races are organized by the Alaska Dog Mushers Association, one of the oldest organizations of its kind in Alaska, and held at its Jeff Studdert Sled Dog Racegrounds at Mile 4, Farmers Loop. Fairbanks, AK. 907/457-6874. www.sleddog.org.
Yukon Quest International Sled-Dog Race. The Yukon Quest International Sled-Dog Race is an endurance race held in February that covers more than 1,000 mi between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory (the starting point alternates between the two each year), via Dawson and the Yukon River. Considered much tougher and, among mushers, more prestigious than the more famous Iditarod, the Quest goes through more remote lands, with fewer checkpoints. You can get more details from the visitor center in either city or by checking in with the Fairbanks Yukon Quest office, located in the log cabin at 550 1st Avenue. 550 1st Ave., Fairbanks, AK, 99701. 907/452-7954. www.yukonquest.com.
Sun Dog Express Dog Sled Tours. If you want to experience dog mushing for yourself, Sun Dog Express Dog Sled Tours, with more than 37 years of experience, offers summer and winter tours (weather permitting), demonstrations, and instruction, in addition to a three-day mushing camp. Fairbanks, AK. 907/479-6983. www.mosquitonet.com/~sleddog.
Paws for Adventure Sled Dog Tours. Offering a mix of trips, Paws for Adventure Sled Dog Tours is a good choice. The most adventurous can embark on multiday trips, but other options include a mushing school or a short sled ride. Fairbanks, AK. 907/378–3630. www.pawsforadventure.com. Oct.–Apr., weather permitting.
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